B-1 & B-2 Visitor Visas & Visa Waiver Program
All international visitors to Vanderbilt University must complete the Business Visitor Questionnaire (BVQ). The BVQ must be completed even if the international visitor is already in the USA. Visitors who are US citizens or permanent residents should not complete the BVQ, however. The BVQ can be found at our BVQ page.
B-VisasThe B-visa category is used for persons who wish to enter the United States to engage in temporary tourism, business or professional activities related to their employment or business abroad. The main intent for this visa type is that it’s for business purposes. B-visa visitors are not permitted to engage in employment of any kind while in the US. However, they are permitted to receive honoraria, speaker’s fees, travel reimbursements and other incidental payments for legitimate academic activities per INA §212 (q). B-visas are designated B-1 (business) or B-2 (tourism) and persons can remain in the US for up to 6 months.
Visa Waivers (WB or WT Status)If a visitor is from one of the countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program, then a B-1or B-2 visa is not needed to enter the US. Instead, the visitor may enter in “visa waiver” status. Persons in visa waiver status cannot remain in the US for more than 90 days. A WB (Waiver Business) is used when the visit primarily has a business purpose. A WT (Waiver Tourist) is used for tourism purposes.
As with the B-visa, the WB and WT visitor cannot engage in employment of any kind while in the US. However, they are permitted to receive honoraria, speaker's fees, travel reimbursements and other incidental payments for legitimate academic activities, per INA §212 (q).
Persons intending to travel to the US under the Visa Waiver program must now receive authorization to use the program before they enter the US. Visa Waiver travelers must first register with the new DHS Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). ESTA Registration is done electronically at the ESTA website. Additional information about ESTA can be found on the ESTA website or VISIT's ESTA webpage.
Countries that Participate in the Visa Waiver Program
Canadian Visitors & Permanent Residents of CanadaCitizens of Canada traveling to the US for temporary business or pleasure/vacation do not require a visa. They enter the US in a status similar to WB/WT status. Permanent residents (aka landed immigrants) of Canada must have a nonimmigrant visa unless the permanent resident is a national of a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program.
Mexican Visitors & Permanent Residents of Mexico
Citizens and permanent residents of Mexico, traveling to the US for business or pleasure/vacation, generally must have a nonimmigrant visa or Border Crossing Card (also known as a "Laser Visa"). The Border Crossing Card (BCC), Form DSP-150 is a biometric, machine readable card that is a combined visitor B1 & B2 Visa/BCC.
Citizens of Bermuda
Citizens of the British Overseas Territories of Bermuda traveling to the US for temporary business or pleasure/vacation reasons, lasting no more than 180 days, do not require a visa.
Reimbursements for B-1, B-2, WB & WT Visitors
Visitors in B-1, B-2, WB or WT status are allowed to receive reimbursements for travel and incidental expenses or per diems related to their academic or business activity. Note that the total amount of such payments cannot exceed what is “reasonable” as a business expense.
Honoraria for B-1, B-2, WB & WT Visitors
B-1, B-2, WT or WB visitors receiving honoraria may only be engaged in the academic activity for nine or fewer business days. In addition, the visitor may not have received honorarium payments from more than five academic institutions in the previous six months. This requirement is generally known as the “9-6-5 rule.”